Red Cross FAQs Part 2

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In this post, we hope to answer more common questions about the American Red Cross.

Is the American Red Cross part of the U.S. government?

No. The American Red Cross functions independently of the government but works closely with government agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), during times of major crises.

The Red Cross is responsible for giving aid to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and to disaster victims at home and abroad. It does this through services that are consistent with its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement allowing the Red Cross to stay neutral and impartial.

Why won’t the Red Cross accept small, individual donations or collections of items such as clothing, food or cleaning supplies-doesn’t every little bit help?

The Red Cross does not accept individual donations of material items (called “in-kind” donations) because receipt of such items can actually hamper relief efforts.

The financial cost of receiving, sorting, transporting goods and ensuring the quality and cleanliness of items donated by individual households is very high. It also does not allow for individuals and families to receive what they uniquely need in their own size and shape.

The traditional method of providing Red Cross assistance is with a voucher, redeemable at local stores and paid for with donation dollars. This voucher enables victims to purchase what they need in the correct sizes and in accordance with their own taste. Making even these small decisions helps individuals begin to take control of their lives and their recovery.

In addition, the voucher process helps channel money into the local economy and thus aids the community in recovery from disaster.

The Red Cross does accept large corporate donations of food, bottled water and other items needed by the disaster-affected communities.

How many Red Cross chapters are there?

There are nearly 600 chapters and blood services regions in the United States. In 187 countries, a Red Cross, Red Crescent or equivalent society works to alleviate human suffering.

The American Red Cross is part of the world’s largest volunteer network found in 187 countries.

How many people are employed at the Red Cross?

Between national headquarters, chapters and Biomedical Services, the Red Cross employs around 33,000 people. We rely on more than 500,000 volunteers.

For more frequently asked questions about the Red Cross, please visit last week’s blog entry.

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